The lime green tundra and newly budding leafs of a poplar tree along the Denali Park road are tell-tale signs of spring. This young grizzly bear takes a break from foraging on the new grass shoots and vegetation along the roadside by scratching its back on the bark of a balsam poplar tree on a sunny morning. I had been watching the bear for a while as it napped, ate, and napped some more, until it woke up and sauntered down the park road. When I saw it pause at this tree, I grabbed my 500mm and poked out of my sun roof in time to grab a few frames of the bear scratching, which it did for just a moment. I’ve seen enough bears do this before that when I saw it sniffing the tree I was alert to the chance. Even so, it happens fast and in a perfect world I may have composed slightly differently if I had a bit more time.
At approximately 10:30 in the morning, the sun is already getting pretty bright for photography, but back lighting still works well in this case, and perhaps is the preferred type of lighting given the circumstances.